The Crystallum Peter Max is a perennial Wine Cellar favourite as it offers accessibility without compromising any complexity. Given 92/100 from Neal Martin – and amongst the highest-rated Pinots in his latest report – gives context for…

The Crystallum Peter Max is a perennial Wine Cellar favourite as it offers accessibility without compromising any complexity. Given 92/100 from Neal Martin – and amongst the highest-rated Pinots in his latest report – gives context for the quality and value to be found in the 2020 Peter Max.

The 2020 is a wonderfully elegant and perfumed Pinot. It draws you in with its primal, earthy mystery and the palate is fleshy and plush to the end. ‘Structured like a Morey-Saint-Denis,’ writes Neal, it is ‘excellent’. While ready to drink now, it can be kept and enjoyed over the next 5 – 10 years.

Crystallum’s 2020 The Agnes Chardonnay is out of this world. Brilliantly conceived, it hails from five vineyards – three in the Hemel-en-Aarde, one in Elgin and, crucially, one from a high-altitude, 700m Ceres vineyard. It walks a perfect line of integrated oak seduction and linear precision. This is a quintessential South African Chardonnay and, like its sibling above, offers exceptional value!

Tasting notes:

Crystallum, The Agnes Chardonnay 2020
‘Lifted and fresh, with beautiful floral perfume, white pear and attractive oak spice. Poised with a rounded, textured palate and spot-on acidity – pure, mineral and delineated. A great example of a Cape Chardonnay.’ – James Pietersen (May 2021)

Crystallum, Peter Max Pinot Noir 2020
‘The 2020 Peter Max felt quite austere on the nose, more so than the 2019 that I had tasted 3–4 days previously. This demands coaxing, eventually revealing brambly red fruit, briar, damp moss and then later, hints of morello cherries. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, taut and crisp, delivering very pure tart red fruit. There is an attractive ‘bite’ toward the finish, which is structured like a Morey-Saint-Denis, the lingering salinity urging you back. Excellent, but give it a couple of years for the aromatics to fully open.’ – Neal Martin, Vinous, 92/100

 

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